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The Stanley plateau in the Rwenzori mountain ranges of Uganda - kwezi outdoors

Uganda gorilla permit hike, local communities to benefit

The announcement comes as the bookings go up promising a great travel season for a country known for its natural beauty, friendly people, and culture

  •  If you are planning to track mountain gorillas in Uganda come 2020, expect to pay more. In many ways than one, the endangered mountain gorillas have become the national animal of Uganda- even though unofficially. Now the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has increased the price of the gorilla permit from the current US$600 to US$700 per person visiting Uganda’s most famous animal.

    “UWA has revised its tariff to introduce new products, new rates for some products, new fines as well as clarification on some UWA products and services,” the 7th August 2019 letter from the Executive Director, Mr. Sam Mwandha reads.

    The price increase is among the price amendments by conservation authority that is in charge of Uganda’s 10 national parks and 11 game reserves. The endangered mountain gorillas are found in two of the parks, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, which has over 40% of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas, and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park home to Uganda’s first habituated group.

    This price increase comes after four years since the last. The gorilla habituation experience stays at the same price of $1500. Under this experience, tourists have the opportunity to spend 4 hours with a gorilla family unlike gorilla tracking which is 1 hour.

    Chimp tracking goes up

    Tracking the other popular great ape, the chimpanzee, is also going to cost you US$50 more from the current rate of US$150 to the new rate of US$200. The Chimpanzee Habituation Experience (CHEX) is also going up by the same amount for foreign tourists finally set at US$250.

    Silver lining in responsible tourism

    While the price increase may seem high, Uganda still provides the most affordable all round experience for anyone visiting the great apes of Africa. Rwanda charges US$1500, while the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) charges US$400. The world’s remaining mountain gorillas, at just over 1000, are only found in Uganda, Rwanda and the DRC.

    But more importantly, the new rates mean that conservation agency UWA has more funds in its kitty to support conservation through community engagements.

    Every time you pay to track Uganda’s mountain gorillas or go to any of the national parks, 20 per cent of the funds collected is invested back into the communities bordering the parks. So, indirectly you get involved in changing lives and communities through the hospitals and schools built, and the other projects supported by this tourist fund. 

    Great Apes Tracking Permit Prices from 1st July 2020

    ActivityOld PriceNew PriceNet Increase
    Mountain Gorilla TrackingUS $600US $700US $100
    Gorilla Habituation ExperienceUS $1500US $1500-None-
    Chimpanzee TrackingUS $150US $200US $50
    Chimpanzee Habituation ExperienceUS $200US $250US $50